How to get to the Bay of Islands

To head north is certainly worth the trip. Whether you drive or fly, when you arrive you’ll still be greeted by beautiful golden sandy beaches with clear blue water lined by Pohutukawa trees. 


Getting to Paihia, Bay of Islands by Car

Driving from Auckland to Paihia is approximately a 3 to 4 hour trip depending on conditions. It’s a good idea to take your time and schedule breaks along the way – and there are some great places to stop.

When driving north from Auckland to the Bay of Islands there are a number of scenic detours as part of the Twin Coast Discovery Route where you can explore both the west and east coasts. This includes:

  • Hibiscus Coast Highway, turn east off SH1 at Silverdale, driving through these seaside towns top stops include brunch at an Orewa Cafe or a stroll at Wenderholm Regional Park.
  • Twin Coast Discovery Route East, turn east off SH1 and head to Mangawhai, this will take you past some spectacular coastline with great beaches for a swim including Mangawhai Heads, Waipu Cove and Langs Beach - there are also plenty of great coffee spots along the way to refuel.
  • Twin Coast Discovery Route West, turn west off SH1 north of Kaiwaka and head west for a completely different landscape, top spots include The Kauri Museum at Matakohe for a touch of history and Waipoua Kauri Forest home to New Zealand's largest living kauri tree.

If you are short on time or prefer to take the more direct route, stay on the Northern Motorway and do not turn off. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the toll fee and how to pay it, you can find more information here. Check out our recommended pit stops along the direct route here

If you're driving in an electric vehicle (EV), there are lots of places you can stop along the way; Puhoi, Whangarei, Kawakawa to name a few. If you'd like some information on where to go and what you can do while you wait for your EV to charge, JUCY Rentals have put together a great itinerary


Getting to Paihia, Bay of Islands by Air

If you’re planning to get to the Bay of Islands by plane, the closest airport is at Kerikeri, 23 km northwest of Paihia. Flights are a quick 40 minute journey from Auckland, making your journey north quick and easy. For more information about flying to the Bay of Islands, visit Air New Zealand. It's also worthwhile to keep an eye out on Grabaseat to see if you can nab yourself a great deal.


Getting to Paihia, Bay of Islands by Bus

InterCity runs multiple daily bus services to Paihia. Buses leave from the SkyCity bus terminal in central Auckland and you can buy tickets online by visiting InterCity.